Christopher Sun: Four Kings
Let me first stress that this book is here because it is the only book in English I can find by a Brunei author. It is a self-published thriller in The Da Vinci Code style. (I have not read The Da Vinci Code, so I am unable to compare the two.) (It even pays tribute to The Da Vinci Code by having the book play a small but key role in the story.) Others may enjoy it but I really did not find it very worthwhile. It is nominally set in France but it is clear that Sun has never been to France. We have characters called Rouseeau (sic) and Beauchump (sic). The police are called Chief Inspector Frankie Darley and Sergeant Garen Fasset. The head of the army is General Armando Delapreece and the country has a president and vice-president à l’américaine but definitely not à la française. None of these names is, of course, even vaguely French. Incidentally, Darley starts off being a chief inspector and then, for no apparent reason, suddenly becomes an inspector reporting to a chief inspector, one of the many slipshod errors in this book.
The story is a somewhat improbable account of a group of men who turn out to be the Illuminati who are after two things – world (or, at least initially, French) domination and the acquisition of valuable artefacts, including rare paintings but, in particular, Jesus’ denarius and the Spear of Longinus, both of which exist (in the book) and seem to have perfect provenance! Fighting these wicked men are (Chief) Inspector Darley, the honest, devoted cop, Professor James Hale, a US professor of history working in France and Stephanie Miller, one of his students and the daughter of one of his good friends, an archaeologist, who is killed very early on in the book. Conspiracies abound, as do frequent kidnappings, murders, strange artefacts turning up, being coveted and getting stolen. There is a cabal of the rich and powerful, with their fingers in every pie and controlling the police, the politicians and pretty well everyone else except for our three heroes. Will our heroes save the world?
It is quite good fun, if you ignore the improbable names, the silly errors and the highly unlikely plot. I suspect, if you enjoyed The Da Vinci Code, you might well enjoy this book as Sun does keep the suspense going. And if you do enjoy it, he has apparently four others planned in the series, with three already written and an ending which leaves us in no doubt that the world had yet to be saved from the Illuminati. It is a pity that Sun does not write about what he knows – Brunei – but tries a not very good imitation of a not very good US novel.
First published 2012 by CreateSpace (ebook)